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Fri 18 May 2012 09:54 AM

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Iran eyes Google legal action over Gulf naming

Foreign Ministry threatens legal move for dropping Persian Gulf from Google Maps

Iran eyes Google legal action over Gulf naming
Google logo
Iran eyes Google legal action over Gulf naming
Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Iran's Foreign Ministry has threatened to take legal action against Google for dropping the name Persian Gulf from its Google Maps and leaving the waterway between Iran and Arab states nameless, state television reported.

"One of the seditionist acts taken as part of the soft war against the Iranian nation has been Google's shameless act to drop the name 'Persian Gulf' which is ... against historical documents," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying.

"We have put on our agenda to make an official complaint against Google," he said, according to state television.

Designation of the key waterway for global oil and gas supplies has long been a touchy issue among the countries bordering it - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Iraq and Iran.

Iran says it is the Persian Gulf, the Arab states say it is the Arabian Gulf. Foreign language descriptions can offend either party if they use one name or the other, or sometimes if they avoid an adjective altogether.

Tension between Iran and US-allied Gulf Arab states has been high over Iran's nuclear energy programme, which Gulf rulers fear will give Tehran a nuclear weapon. Iran says its peaceful nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity.

Gulf Arabs also accuse Iran of fomenting unrest in Bahrain - a charge Iran and protesters deny. Tehran has lauded Arab uprisings in the region as an "Islamic awakening" against despotic rulers, saying they were influenced by its own 1979 Islamic revolution.

Most ordinary Iranians are sensitive about the name of the waterway, saying it has been historically called the 'Persian Gulf'. Numerous pages on social media such as Facebook have been created and dedicated to the waterway.

Iran threatened in 2010 to ban airlines from using its airspace if they referred to the Arabian instead of Persian Gulf.

Paolo C 7 years ago

I think Iran should not fall into these provocations, because that is exactly what they want to do. It's true that the name disapppeared, however if you do search persian gulf on google maps it still shows it's there. If this is the policy of Google then they should also take Israel of the maps.

worrybeads 7 years ago

How Childish ! Persian Gulf was named by the Greeks, So was the Arabian Gulf (Red Sea), so was the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and a few more historical waterways. Just because it is called after you it does not mean you own it, same goes for the Arabian Sea. 2500 years ago the Greeks named things as it made sense to them . I just call it the "Gulf". However for navigation purposes it is the UN that designates names and name changes, they are very reluctant to change as there are still a lot of old charts in use. Not every one uses GPS :-)

mohammad 7 years ago

It wasnt just the Greeks who called it that. There have been two UN resolutions stating that it is the Persian Gulf. Iran doesn't say it owns it, but it does say that we should call it by its real name and not just some name.

master debater 7 years ago

its been Persian Gulf for thousands of years
perisa is a great civilization and always will be.
its wrong to call it arab gulf , this is pure provacation to anger the iranians and create tension between the two.

Hamad Yasser 7 years ago

On this side of the Arabian Gulf, it will eternally be called the Arabian Gulf and if this offends the Iranians, Iran is just a few miles away so they can always return but as long as they are here, this is the Arabian Gulf, deal with it or just leave!

Amin 7 years ago

Instead of childish quarrels,about names ,and history;it would be useful,to undermine peace ,and prosperity ,in the region,and the neighbors.

The region has enough ,from war , hostility ,and foreign troops.

worrybeads 7 years ago

@Hamad, "you" are correct, you can call it what ever you want. Please refer to my post below, there is already an Arabian Gulf , so you cant have 2 of them in the same way that you can have 2 Sudans ! So I suggest you start calling them Eastern Arabian Gulf and Western Arabian Gulf. If it makes you happy, then it is good . But don't expect any one else to follow suit. The naming convention does not reside on your side of the "Gulf" or soon I would soon be asking for an Arabian Carpet , rather than a Persian one and would be having an Arabian cat instead of a Persian one. Silly politics!!!! Don't you think the region has bigger issues ?

Amin 7 years ago

Dear Brother;Hamad Yasser;

Because of these childish quarrels;the region is occupied by the trans Continental troops.

Time for a moment of peace ,and facts.

SAM 7 years ago

There is a sea referred to by the entire world as the Caspian Sea, but in Iran, they call it something else. How different is that?

Arabian_Biblioteque 7 years ago

Iran has got what it wanted, media attention for the name of Persian Gulf, they dont need to sue.